Craving those salted wafers and cans of cola? Maybe a cheesecake after that? Of course, you are. The real question to address, however, is whether you’re actually hungry at all.
Reasons to eat are plentiful, from stress and boredom, to fatigue and festivities; so before you realize that your tummy doesn’t really need another gorge fest, you’re already on your second packet of chips. But why is it so hard to discern between the actual physiological need to eat and the simple desire to eat?
Being able to tell the difference will help you avoid a lot of calories, as well as the despair of having a bulging belly, so let’s find out how you can use your brain to tell genuine hunger from cravings.
Hunger Or Thirst? A Glass Of Water Will Tell!
“The next time you feel like reaching for a second serving of dessert, down a glass of water – if you’re no longer hungry, it probably wasn’t actual hunger to begin with”
Thirst is a master masquerader adept at disguising as hunger. Keeping yourself well-hydrated is an important step to kicking any gluttonous craving. If you’re having one of those moments where you want to stuff yourself with cupcakes, have a big glass of water. If you don’t feel the need to eat anymore, it was probably not actual hunger to begin with.
Focus On The Physical Cues
“Physiological signs are a lot more straightforward and include a rumbling stomach, emptiness in the tummy, nausea, abdominal pain, and frequent burping”
Oftentimes, fatigue and stress can have the same effects as physical hunger – a loss of focus and sluggishness. The cues you should actually look out for are more physical – a growling stomach being the most obvious. Other cues indicative of real hunger include a feeling of emptiness in the tummy, nausea or stomach pain, and frequent burping. Listen to the signals your body sends out and you’ll be good to go.
Eyes On The Clock
“Tracking your meal timings makes you more mindful and aware of what you’re eating and how frequently you’re doing it”
If it’s just been an hour since you ate those aloo parathas for lunch, you are probably just craving more and it has nothing to do with real hunger. Monitoring your meal timings can be an important exercise in developing mindful eating, which makes you more aware of what it is you are eating and how often you’re doing it.
The Apple Test
“The next time you feel the urge to reach for a slice of pizza, ask yourself if you’d eat an apple instead – if the apple swap kills yours appetite, it means you were never really hungry”
The next time you’re in the mood for a sweet or salty snack, just ask yourself if you’d eat it if it were just an apple (or any other fruit or vegetable you like but don’t usually crave). If the answer is yes, why not swap it for an actual apple and make way for healthy snacking. If the answer is no, you are probably not even hungry and it’s just emotional eating that you’re looking forward to.
Though the practice of differentiating between physical or emotional hunger can be tricky in the beginning; with self-control and discipline (a lot of it), it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You’ll end up eating a lot healthier, won’t pack on the pounds, and won’t have to deal with any guilt!